Tag Archives: jiu jitsu and psychology

The Dunning Kruger Effect in BJJ


I heard about this recently and I think it fits perfectly with the perceived competency in jiu jitsu. The Dunning-Kruger effect, according to our good friend Wikipedia, “is a cognitive bias in which people mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability.”

And really, the best story I’ve heard all day: “The identification derived from the cognitive bias evident in the criminal case of McArthur Wheeler, who robbed banks while his face was covered with lemon juice, which he believed would make it invisible to the surveillance cameras. This belief was based on his misunderstanding of the chemical properties of lemon juice as an invisible ink.”

That’s pretty amazing.

There was something one of our old jiu jitsu coaches used to say, that I think sums this up also perfectly- you get really good at a rank, you get promoted to the next rank, and at some point there’s a period of doubt and uncertainty, and it happens each time you continue through the the belt ranks.

Think of it this way: some people start jiu jitsu, and as they progress through their white belt they feel pretty good about themselves and get finally to blue, and then they are back at the bottom of the totem pole so to speak, and not only that, they begin to realize that there is SO MUCH more to learn and perfect. For some, that realization that they have so much more to go can be immensely daunting, and can cause some people to quit.

It’s the commitment to continue to learn even after that realization that will carry you through that dip in confidence and keep you on track in your jiu jitsu journey.

Have a great day everyone!


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BJJ and Psychology: The Relational Humility Scale

Researchers in the psychological community have come up with a relational humility scale– from what I understand, basically a way to quantify the level of humility a person possesses. Which does sound odd at first, but becomes more interesting the more you think about it. Humility is sort of like that one quote from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, you just know it when you see it, and its varying degrees.

I would be interested to see this scale applied to the BJJ community, and what sort of results they would find: humility in relation to success in competition, longevity in the sport, at what rank do students possess the most humility, the least, etc.

What do you guys think? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!



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